December 30, 2019

This year's best (and worst) physicians, according to Medscape

Daily Briefing

    Medscape recently released its 2019 "Physicians of the Year" list, which names the "best" doctors of the past year—and the "worst."

    This year's 'best' doctors

    Several prominent physicians and researchers who stood out as the "best" in their fields died this year, according to Medscape. As such, for the "best" list, Medscape honored several doctors who passed away in 2019, including:

    • Stewart Adams, a chemist and pharmaceutical scientist who in the 1960s jointly led the team who discovered ibuprofen;
    • Mohammed Abdul-Mughni, a doctor who worked at a temporary diarrhea treatment center on the grounds of a hospital in Yemen to fight a surge in cholera cases;
    • Henry Lynch, who pioneered research on the study of hereditary cancers and discovered the most common form of hereditary colorectal cancer, called Lynch syndrome;
    • Donald Lindberg, a former director of the National Library of Medicine who is widely recognized as "the country's senior statesman for computers and medicine" because of his role in applying computer technology to health care, including creating PubMed and providing free access to clinical trial results with ClinicalTrials.gov;
    • Stuart Levy, a former president of the American Society of Microbiology who is widely recognized as the "father of antibiotic stewardship" after he discovered in 1976 that routine use of antibiotics in farm animals could cause antibiotic resistance in animals and people;
    • Gary Paul Swank, an interventional cardiologist who served as the medical director of Carilion Clinic's Cardiac Catheterization Lab and an associate professor of internal medicine at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke;
    • Paul Talalay, a molecular pharmacologist who led the Johns Hopkins Laboratory for Molecular Pharmacology, which discovered a link between the consumption of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables and reduced cancer risk; and
    • Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, an epidemiologist whom the World Health Organization recruited to lead a local response team at the epicenter of the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak.

    Other clinicians who were honored on Medscape's "best" list include:

    • Carl Allamby, who became an emergency medicine resident at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital at the age of 47 after working as a mechanic for years;
    • Harry Lever, a cardiologist who directs Cleveland Clinic's Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center and was one of the first to raise concerns about ineffective generic drugs, mostly those imported from China and India, after he found his patients complained about chest pain and other symptoms when using generic versions of Toprol XL that disappeared when they used the brand-name version of the drug;
    • Jean-Jacques Muyembe, who only recently gained recognition for discovering the Ebola virus as part of a team of researchers who investigated the first known Ebola outbreak in 1976. This year, he led research involving the discovery of the most effective Ebola treatment to date; and
    • Wendy Rogers, a former general practitioner who began a second career as a bioethicist and drew attention to research based on -organ transplants from executed prisoners in China, which led to the retraction of at least 20 journal articles on organ transplantation.

    The 'worst' doctors

    Meanwhile, Medscape's list of the "worst" doctors includes:

    • At least 50 employees at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago who were reportedly fired for allegedly violating HIPAA by accessing the medical records of former Empire actor Jussie Smollett;
    • Richard Strauss, who served as a team physician at Ohio State University in Columbus between 1978 and 1998 and is accused of sexually abusing at least 177 of the university's former students;
    • Joseph Galichia, a cardiologist who agreed to pay $5.8 million to resolve allegations claiming he and his Galichia Medical Group had improperly billed federal health programs for unnecessary cardiac stent procedures;
    • Murray Gerstman, an Australian endocrinologist banned from performing breast examinations after patients complained about unexplained examinations over 12 years;
    • Yolanda Hamilton, the owner and operator of HMS Health and Wellness Center in Houston who a federal court jury found guilty of participating in a $16 million Medicare fraud scheme;
    • Steven Henson, a Kansas physician sentenced to life in prison after a judge convicted him for illegally selling opioids to patients without a legitimate medical need for the painkillers;
    • Spyros Panos, a former orthopedic surgeon lost his medical license, served more than four years in prison for fraud, and faced 255 medical malpractice lawsuits;
    • Christopher Salgado, a Florida surgeon specializing in transgender health care who resigned after being criticized for posting pictures of his patients' genitals on Instagram along with captions mocking individuals who identify as transgender and Asians;
    • Theepa Sundaralingam, a Canadian oncologist who lost her license after not contesting allegations that she had a sexual relationship with a patient while she treated him for cancer (Brooks et al., Medscape, 12/16).  
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